Do you get irritated with the unnecessary popping sounds in your recorded voice? Do you want to minimize unwanted sounds to increase your audio quality?
Regardless of what purpose, having a background noise shield for your microphone is a GREAT help. A pop filter and windscreen for your recording studio setup can do the job.
But which one would you prioritize between the two?
Check out this article to learn everything about comparing pop filters vs. windscreens!
- Windscreens are mic covers mostly made up of foam or mesh. They are best for reducing loud unwanted noises, which is why it works best for recording outdoors.
- Pop filters are metal mesh filters for plosive sounds. It does not entirely cover the mic, so it is best to use one inside your studio.
- Knowing the venue of the sound recording is essential to identify which mic cover to use. But, you can also add both accessories for the best results.
What Is a Windscreen?
You should have a mic windscreen if you are doing an outdoor recording.
A windscreen is a foam or mesh cover for an entire microphone. It is BEST for outdoor recordings since it helps reduce wind noise and other unwanted background noises.
Other than that, windscreens also soften your voice clean when recorded. It lessens the chance of your mic getting loud breath blasts and speaking plosives.
Plosives are sounds a person produces when speaking hard consonant sounds or pronouncing words with “p” and “b.”
Thus, you can enjoy a cleaner and crispier sound quality for your podcasts, song covers, and more.
When looking at windscreens in stores, you will encounter THREE types: wind jammers, baskets, and foam types windscreens.
This is the foam cover that you commonly see on studio microphones.
The foam material used for this type is mostly polyethylene. A foam windscreen can lessen noise for audio outputs of 15-20 dB.
If you still don’t have the budget, buying a new microphone ALREADY has a foam windscreen.
However, it is usually of lower quality—why you might need to buy a better one for better recording outside your studio.
This means using higher-density foam windscreens to cater to louder unwanted background noise.
Windjammers are windscreens too, but with faux fur. Recording audio on the beach or in the forest is the specialty of this type.
You can already have good quality audio with such foam windscreens. What more if it also has fake fur with it?
Windjammers can help you REDUCE up to 35 dB of unwanted noise.
If you also want to use this windscreen indoors, there is no problem. It can help reduce the notice from your recording studio’s air conditioning.
Now, you may already think if you will go for the separated foam and fur variant or the combined one.
Baskets are also called blimps. They are capsule-like windscreens made up of foam inside and plastic outside.
If you are looking at the best wind reduction type on this pool, this is the one.
Some even COMBINE a basket windscreen with a wind jammer. With this, you can reduce unwanted noise by up to 50dB.
The only downside is a blimp might cause a high-frequency loss in some instances.
A good recommendation by most users is to do the magic during the editing phase by increasing high frequencies.
When to Use a Windscreen?
- You will be using the mic for outdoor live performances
- You will be doing outdoor interviews and recordings
- The venue for recording has loud unwanted background noise
- Your mic is omnidirectional
What Is a Pop Filter?
Another microphone element for improving sound quality are pop filters.
Unlike the noise and wind protection a windscreen brings, a pop filter is designed to FOCUS more on speaking sounds.
A pop filter is best for recording vocals as it reduces hard consonant sounds from speaking or singing words with “p” and “b” letters—plosives.
This mic cover type is mostly like a barrier of air pressure from the speaker to the microphone.
It also has three types to do the same job. These are the regular mounted ones, the metal mesh type, and pop guards.
Regular Mounted Pop Filters
I am sure you already saw this one on the mics of your favorite YouTube song cover artists.
This regular mounted pop filter is the most known type in this list to reduce noise from speaking hard consonants when recording.
Setting up this microphone element is EASY.
You have to put the clip on the mic stand. After that, set the pop filter in front of the microphone to block your mouth from getting closer or hitting the mic.
Metal Mesh Pop Filters
A metal mesh pop filter is more durable and high-quality than the regular one.
This type is commonly used in many microphones for PROFESSIONAL singers to filter wind noise or their pop sounds when recording.
As mentioned above, setting this up only needs putting the clip on the microphone stand. You must then arrange the pop filter between your mouth and the microphone.
Another ADVANTAGE a metal mesh has over the regular one is its effectiveness on high frequencies.
The former lets more high-frequency sound reach microphones.
The name for this type suits its appearance.
Unlike the other two options in this list, a pop guard covers more space for microphones.
Thus, it can block more wind noise, popping sounds, and other noises while you record.
They are the EASIEST to set up too. You have to put it directly around your condenser microphone and expect a better-recorded sound afterward.
When to Use a Pop Filter?
- You will do a podcast
- You will be recording vocals
- The venue is not that noisy
- You will be recording indoors
Pop Filter vs. Windscreen: Side-By-Side Comparison
Pop filters or windscreens do a great job of shielding microphones from getting large air blasts, wind, popping, and other noise.
Having both types can be possible if you want.
But, if you don’t have the BUDGET, I can explain what is better in what category.
What’s the Main Difference?
The difference between the two is not just in the design but in the use and purpose.
A windscreen is a microphone cover, while a pop filter is a barrier from the speaker to the mic. Thus, the former is more multipurpose than the latter.
A windscreen is a microphone wind protection than can BOTH reduce a popping sound and extraneous noise. In contrast, a pop filter is designed to focus more like pop screens.
Thus, a windscreen is best for outdoor use, while a pop filter is best for a recording studio setup.
Which One Is Better for Beginners?
Beginners usually have a tight budget, so most will choose a multipurpose choice.
The same is true for doing for a choice that is easy to use. In these cases, a windscreen is more convenient for beginners.
It is EFFECTIVE in both indoor and outdoor recordings. You can use it to filter your microphone’s air, wind, and other unnecessary noise.
While a pop filter is better for popping noise, a windscreen can also do a good job. You can do minor editings to your satisfaction in the post-production anyway.
Lastly, setting up a windscreen mostly calls for DIRECTLY attaching the accessory to the microphone, unlike a pop filter where you need to mount the clip and adjust the filter to your mouth’s direction.
Most packages for mics already have freebies—foam windscreen and regular mounted pop filters. But, you can buy both a pop filter and windscreen at an affordable price.
An entry-level windscreen at $15 can already PERFORM well for outdoor live performances. The same is true for a faux fur type at $30.
While you can already purchase a good pop filter at $20, buying both windscreens and pop filters with higher quality also calls for higher tags.
Thus, you should be familiar with the context of how you need a mic cover. This is to also MAXIMIZE your budget in buying either of the two.
Which One Is More Accessible?
A pop filter is, most of the time, universal. This means it can be used for different types of microphones.
While a windscreen is easy to set up for your sound recording, you have to look for the PERFECT size that fits your microphone.
Regardless, windscreens and pop filters can easily be found in the market. They also have several variations to hit the perfect one for your microphone.
If you haven’t bought mics yet, both are usually given as freebies in the package.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Are you still not sure what microphone cover to choose? More information is presented below to help you finalize your choice between a windscreen and a pop filter.
Can I Use a Windscreen for Streaming/Podcasting?
Good content is useless if the audience can’t hear it anyway.
Having a windscreen will be of great help to ensure this will not happen.
A foam windscreen can already do the job of MINIMIZING popping sounds and unwanted background noises.
You can use wind jammers to get your clean audio to the next level.
However, if you want the best possible audio, having BOTH a windscreen and pop filter is the way to go.
Your video or audio audience can get the best experience if you put these covers in a high-quality microphone.
Can You Record/Stream Without a Pop Filter or Windscreen?
Having a windscreen or pop filter depends on the streamer or microphone user.
However, not using even just one of these mic covers can decrease the sound quality. You can do a little editing in the post-production, but the result difference is still HIGH.
Imagine recording your vocals for a song, and you can hear your loud breathing.
You can also think of recording a video outside your house with loud wind noise.
When Should You Replace a Pop Filter or Windscreen?
There is no exact timeframe as to when you should replace a pop filter or windscreen.
Most users depend on the microphone element’s state before going to the stores. Others even say three months is already good, especially for those non-metal ones.
This is because a metal microphone cover can last a year of use. Of course, you need to do some cleaning and MAINTENANCE from time to time to keep its quality.
Preserving a pop filter or windscreen’s quality, appearance, and performance depends on your use.
The more careful you are, the longer you can use the accessory.
Creating good music also requires good equipment.
Pop filters or windscreens for your microphones should include an EFFECTIVE recording setup.
Being able to filter unwanted sounds when you record helps make your voice or music quality better.
You must know the CONTEXT for your recording to maximize each mic cover’s strengths. But remember not to rely only on them to have good sound quality.
Having a performing microphone is also very vital to achieve the recording quality goal.